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Amazon's Customer Video Reviews

By  Nov 29, 2007

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With the holidays upon us, now’s the time to begin that search for the perfect gifts for your special ones. Or, if you’re like me, you’ll throw up your hands in despair and purchase gift certificates or make donations in people’s names.

But I do make an attempt to join the e-buyer madness every year and found myself noodling around Amazon this weekend in hopes of finding something appropriate for a 13-year old boy (before I just outright ask my little brother what he wants).

Perhaps a bionic eye would be up his alley this year, or “air hogs battling havoc” might be more his speed. Maybe we could play a game of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader on DVD-ROM, and he can shame me with his knowledge of African capital cities.  

Whatever it is I discover online, I tend to read as many reviewer comments I can so at least I can say, “Hey, 93 percent of the people who viewed this product, purchased it. We can’t all be wrong!”

But now, there is yet another tool at Amazon to help me in this holiday decision-making process … video reviews. Earlier this month, Amazon announced the launch of “Customer Video Reviews,” so for those of us who aren’t quite convinced that we’ll have fun playing with battling air hogs, will know by the white-man overbite demonstration that this guy is having a rockin’-good time!

All it takes is a simple upload of your QuickTime, .AVI, .WMV, or .MPEG-formatted videos to the customer reviews section on the product page and voil, instant video review of your purchase to share with those who just can’t believe it until they’ve seen it.

I think this is great (because I can’t believe it until I see it too) but I wonder how Amazon is going to control this beast its unleashed. Will its lawyers review everything that’s uploaded and determine if the content is copyright-infringement-free? I kinda doubt this but who knows. Maybe toy manufacturers and movie companies will be so overjoyed by the additional free promoting of their products, they won’t care. Most likely this customer (if a customer at all) didn’t contact Orion Pictures for permissions before posting his review of the plush gopher doll that dances and sings to Caddyshack’s "I'm Alright" mixed with scenes from the movie.

Does it matter? Maybe not if it sells more gophers. Those video customer reviews of The Brothers Karamazov will be a tough sell though.